What time is it?

What time is it?  Half Past Two!  HP2 of Orange County is set to release a 5-song EP entitled ‘Mastering Karate’ which is the third in their already fantastic catalog of tunes.  ‘Mastering Karate’ follows ‘It’s About Time’ (2009) and ‘Closet Polar Bears’ (2007).  Let’s check it out…

 

  1. “Mastering Karate”- Hi-yah!  With synthesizer at the ready, HP2 lays down a pretty sweet ska infused pop number.  Brittany and P!nk eat your hearts out, ska is where it’s at!     Grade: A

 

  1. “Artificial”-  What starts out with a church organ vibe, quickly turns into polished ska-punk.  Watch out for the well-placed guitar solo and massive horn-section attack.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Your Gaze is Gone”-  The organ and guitar combo creates the quirkiness reminiscent of early B-52’s.  Complete with saxophone solo, this is a straight up dance song.  Grade: A

 

  1. “Heather”-  The horn section is a little more subdued in this song, up until the end.  But at only 1:43, this relatively short song still packs a punch (and kick)!  Grade: A-

 

  1. “Not Enough”-Lead vocalist Tara has the singing chops to pull off both sweet songstress and punk princess in the same song.  “Not Enough” is the final round-house kick to the head, bringing a full force of ska-pop-punk.  Awesome song!  Grade:  A

 

Half Past Two has unleased their best stuff on this compact, 5-song album.  While “Heather” is a short song overall, there are no fillers here.  The overall sound is refreshing in the ska-punk genre, where raspy-voiced male vocalists rule the scene.  Tara’s vocal chops could certainly pull off any genre of music, but she fits in well with this well-oiled ska machine.  The rest of the band is on par as well, from the sporadic solo from the guitar to the blaring horn parts.  They even throw in a touch of synthesizer to boot!  Not shying away from the pop influences, Half Past Two will attract a much wider audience and may put ska back on the map (was in ever on the map?).  This Avril Lavigne, meets Save Ferris meets The Hippos (with just a splash of High School Musical) style will carry them far.  Awesome, simply awesome!

 

Overall Grade: A

 

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